You’ll Lose Your Gourd Over Amanda Shulman's Party-Ready Squash Fondue

Melty, gooey, cheese fondue served in an edible squash vessel is the ticket to impressing guests at your next dinner party.

Acorn Squash Fondue

Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 40 mins
4 to 8 servings

“There is hardly anything better than hot cheese,” says 2023 F&W Best New Chef Amanda Shulman, chef-owner of Her Place in Philadelphia. “When brainstorming menu ideas for a late-fall pop-up before Her Place opened, my fiancé and I found ourselves trying to come up with a seasonal riff on the classic raclette set of melted cheese served with crudités for dipping. We decided to serve it in acorn squash — they make perfect (and edible!) vessels.”

In Shulman's recipe, hollowed-out acorn squash are baked until tender, then filled with melted cheese. Kirsch, a colorless cherry brandy, cuts through the fondue's richness. “A splash of kirsch in the fondue takes a simple Gruyère to the next level,” Shulman says. “This is sure to delight your table, your friends, and most of all your soul.” 

Frequently asked questions

What should I dip in fondue?

Whether it’s cheese or chocolate, the dipping possibilities are endless when it comes to fondue. Crudités such as radishes, endive leaves, and rainbow carrots work incredibly well to scoop up the gooey cheese. More sturdy items like crusty bread or small crostini also make for great dippers. Crunchy, acidic cornichons cut through the richness of the cheese and make for a surprisingly pleasant addition to any fondue party. 

Is acorn squash skin edible? 

Every part of an acorn squash is edible. Once you've finished the fondue fun, enjoy the edible vessel as an additional treat. 

Note from the Food & Wine Test Kitchen

To create the ultimate cheese pull, bake the fondue in the squash until an instant read thermometer registers 140-150°F.

Cooking techniques

Melting cheese can be tricky, but all it takes is a bit of patience. First, don't be tempted to increase the heat to speed up the melting process. In the event that the cheese mixture looks like it's about to break, stop adding cheese, remove from the heat, and blend with an immersion blender until it looks smooth again, then return it to low heat and slowly add more cheese.

Suggested pairing

We recommend a subtly tannic French red like Château Thivin Reverdon Brouilly to pair with the creamy, rich, and nutty flavors of the Comté and Gruyère. 

Make ahead

The squash can be prepared through step 2 up to 3 hours in advance. Let the squash stand, loosely covered with aluminum foil, at room temperature. Prepare fondue, fill squash, and finish baking just before serving.


  • 4 medium acorn squash

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 8 ounces Comté cheese, grated (about 2 cups)

  • 8 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (about 2 cups)

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream

  • 1/2 cup whole milk

  • 1 tablespoon kirsch (cherry brandy) or dry white wine

  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste

  • Crudités (such as cornichons, blanched broccoli and cauliflower, Belgian endive, carrots, and sliced radishes), roasted fingerling potatoes, sliced apple and pear, grapes, pretzel crisps, and mini rye toasts, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 500°F. Trim off about 1 inch from top and about 1/4 inch from bottom of each squash (just enough to create a flat base on the bottom, but not enough to reveal the hollow cavity). Using a spoon, hollow out squash from the top, removing and discarding any seeds and stringy bits. Drizzle insides of squash evenly with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt.

  2. Place squash, upside down, on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet; roast in preheated oven until flesh is tender but squash still holds its shape, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Turn squash upright; let cool on baking sheet 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 450°F.

  3. Toss together grated cheeses and flour in a large bowl; set aside. Bring heavy cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium. Simmer, whisking often, until slightly thickened and reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Whisk in milk, kirsch, garlic, and pepper. Reduce heat to low; add flour-coated cheese, about 1/4 cup at a time, whisking constantly until cheese is completely melted and incorporated before adding more. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Ladle warm fondue evenly into squash cavities (about 3/4 cup each), filling up to about 1/4 inch below rim of squash. Bake fondue-filled squash at 450°F until bubbly and top is browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately with crudités and additional desired accompaniments.

Originally appeared in Food & Wine magazine, October 2023

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